First dates with food allergies

Let me start off today’s blog by saying I know exactly how embarrassing it can be to go on a first date when you have food allergies. How do you explain to the guy you are going out with that although you’d love to try their favorite appetizer, you have to pass because of your dietary restrictions?
As I stated in our first blog, I was in college when I was first diagnosed with celiac disease. A prime time for going out on dates and socializing with my friends. Several changes had to be made including finding a substitute for my love of light beer. Going out to dinner with my friends, although challenging, was never much of an issue for me. My friends quickly became supportive of my new diet and would pick restaurants they knew were safe for me.
Unfortunately, not everything was so easy. Gluten free wasn’t as popular then as it is now. Even now, finding a gluten free restaurant that can safely reduce the risk for cross contamination can be difficult. How was I supposed to explain to the guy asking me out to his favorite restaurant that I can’t eat there? How was I supposed to order my “high maintenance” food without personally sounding “high maintenance”? Trial and error. I made many mistakes at the beginning.
Here is my list of “don’ts”:
-Don’t down play the seriousness of your food allergy
-Don’t explain side effects in too much detail when your date is asking what would happen if you “cheated” on your diet or accidentally ate the food allergen or gluten. (Example: It’s okay to say it makes you sick for a few days. It’s NOT okay to say you’ll be in the bathroom for the next week. No one wants to picture that, not even your mom.)
-Don’t risk your health because you are too embarrassed to talk to the server about your food allergy.
-Don’t expect your date to be an expert on your food allergy. If they ask questions, they are only trying to understand. If they offer you a bite of their sandwich when you can’t eat gluten, they are probably trying to be nice, not inconsiderate (just explain to them that you can’t).
-Don’t be embarrassed. No one is perfect.Here are the “do’s”:
-Do tell your date ahead of time so he can find a place to take you to or ask you where you’d prefer.
-Do tell your date how appreciative you are if they went to any extra effort to accommodate you and your food allergy.
-Do have fun. What you order should play no part in the amount of fun you have on the date.

When I first met my husband, and I had to explain that I couldn’t eat at his favorite wings place for our first date (I literally could not eat one thing in the entire restaurant), he was beyond understanding. (Side note: Guys- wings are not an attractive food for anyone to eat, so I would save that for the 5th date). After I explained to him that I cannot eat gluten, he had me pick the restaurant. Once we got there, he asked what I was going to order, a completely normal question for a first date. When the waiter came, he ordered for me, thoroughly and kindly explaining to the waiter how important it was for my food to be gluten free. I was shocked. Eric had been seriously concerned for my health on our first date. That alone got him a second date.

-Sarah Stolp coming soon!!

Can I Eat Here? The Premier Allergy Friendly Dining Guide. Coming soon


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